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Remembering Professor Emeritus Robert Berthel "Bob" Kvavik

May 5, 1942 - September 1, 2019
December 19, 2019

Early in the fall 2019 semester, the Department of Political Science was saddened to hear of the passing of Robert Kvavik, professor emeritus of political science. Professor Kvavik received his PhD from Stanford University, joined the Department of Political Science in 1968, and taught University of Minnesota students for 46 years. Institutions around the world recruited Professor Kvavik, and he taught courses at the University of Oslo, the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, and Columbia University. 

An expert on Scandanavian politics with a focus on Norway, he was a past president of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. King Harald V appointed Professor Kvavik as Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for his promotion of research and university collaboration between the United States and Norway, especially in the areas of research and the use of technology in higher education.

Professor Kvavik was also a leader at the University level. He served as senior associate vice president for planning, as vice provost, chief of staff to multiple provosts, and interim provost in 1992 and 1998. His leadership extended around the world as a consultant and globally known public speaker on the topic of information-technology-enabled services in higher education. He was the project director for the University of Minnesota’s Enterprise Project to install new computer and software systems for student services, human resources, web-based systems, and infrastructure. As chair of the University’s undergraduate program redesign, Professor Kvavik was a crucial organizer in getting Robert H. Bruininks Hall constructed, which is designed for technology-enabled, small-group experiential learning.

Professor Kvavik enjoyed fishing, travel, gardening, and cats. He was a tireless advocate of connecting people and collaboration between higher-education institutions around the world, and enhancing learning through new technology. The contributions Professor Kvavik delivered to the Department of Political Science and the University of Minnesota will benefit students and faculty far into the future.